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Tag: carrageenan

Yesterday, we took an in-depth look at what Greek-style yogurt is, why it’s different than regular yogurt, and how to make it at home. In today’s post we’ll show you what to look for when buying Greek-style yogurt.

What to Look For at the Store

Not all Greek-style varieties are created equal. As always, you have to read the ingredient label. Traditionally, Greek yogurt is only made with 3 ingredients: milk, cream and live cultures, but many of today’s versions contain other “stuff.”

Flavor

We’re starting with flavor because that might be the most important decision when buying yogurt. The best advice here is to look for plain Greek-style yogurt. It is often the flavored varieties that add additional calories, sweeteners, thickeners, and colors. If you need to sweeten it, add your own toppings such as fresh fruit, granola (try this homemade tropical granola recipe), 100% pure maple syrup, or raw honey.

Additives

Milk Protein Concentrate – This cheap ingredient is added to Greek-style yogurt to increase thickness and the raise the protein levels. The concerns with MPC is that it is “ultra processed,” almost always imported, and highly unregulated (not a good combination). There is no reason to add this ingredient in pure Greek-style yogurt.
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I love ice cream. I love Cold Stone’s Signature Creation, Mud Pie Mojo (coffee ice cream, Oreos, peanut butter, roasted almonds and fudge). There is something about those two spades mushing up my gooey concoction on a freezing marble slab that makes me happy.  I’m a label-reading-freak and yet I somehow seem to turn a blind eye when out for an after-dinner treat. Just a quick look at this “creation” tells me that I’ll be eating a boatload of sugar along with a highly likely dose of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. But what about the ice cream itself?
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Image: theimpulsivebuy via flickr

McDonald’s is making headlines again, this time for their Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. In Mark Bittman’s New York Times Opinionator article, How to Make Oatmeal…Wrong, he lambastes McDonald’s  for turning their oatmeal into “expensive junk food.”

So why is McDonald’s oatmeal so unhealthy? It starts with the fact that their new “bowl full of wholesome” contains 21 ingredients or as Bittman says,

“A more accurate description than “100% natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples” would be “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.”

So what is actually in the oatmeal? McDonald’s first ingredient list shows: Oatmeal, Diced Apples, Cranberry Raisin Blend, Light Cream. Wow, only 5 easy-to-understand and simple ingredients; sounds good, right? But then as you look down the page a bit you realize that each of those ingredients have sub-ingredients:
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This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back daily to see the ingredient of the day.

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In recent news, this popular food additive was found to be effective against the common cold and the H1N1 flu virus!

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Carrageenan

Names: Ammonium Carrageenan, Calcium Carrageenan, Potassium Carrageenan, Sodium Carrageenan, Chondrus Extract, Irish Moss

Uses: Stabilizer, Texturizer, Emulsifier

E Number: E407

Found In: ice cream, chocolate milk, sherbet, jam, jelly, cheese spread, dressings, crackers, pastries, custard, evaporated milk, whipped cream, infant formula, soy milk

Description: Derived from a red seaweed by heating and converting into a gel. Used to thicken and stabilize processed foods. Also used as an emulsifier in certain products. Roughly 80% of the world’s supply comes from the Philippines. In 2007, the joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) indicated that carrageenan should be restricted in infant formula due to the gastrointestinal effects on infants.

Allergy Information: May cause allergic reaction in sensitive individuals

Possible Health Effects: In  animal studies, results indicated that when carrageenan was subject to high temperatures…read more on Carrageenan.

Copyright July 2, 2010 Be Food Smart, Updated December 20, 2010

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Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.